April launch for Indian airline


The Indian air firm Deccan Aviation is hoping to emulate the success of Easyjet and Ryanair by launching a budget airline for India, according to reports.

The airline will be called Air Deccan and flights are due to begin in April.

The budget airline sector has proved to be one of the few growth areas in the aviation industry in recent times, grabbing market share from the more traditional carriers.

Captain G R Gopinath, the company's managing director, was quoted by the BBC as saying that the airline had a huge potential market.

He said India's population of one billion is serviced by 400 commercial flights, while the USA has one-fourth India's population but has 40,000 commercial flights.

A previous attempt to launch a budget airline in India by NEPC failed, but Captain Gopinath said he was confident his airline would succeed. He said it was an idea whose time had come.

He said the airline did not intend to compete on routes run by existing operators, but it would offer fares about 30 per cent below what people would expect to pay on established airlines.

The airline is planning to attract middle-class business travellers, and aims to serve a mixture of industrial and tourist destinations.

One of the criticisms leveled at budget airlines in Europe is that they fly to cheaper airports that are miles away from city centres. But Captain Gopinath said this would not be a problem for Air Deccan since at existing major airports the slots were not filled.